By Ron Shillingford
West Indies have been a mediocre Test team for decades but at least under their new regime they have added five points to move to 75 in the International Cricket Council Test team rankings.
Although still in eighth place, director of cricket, Jimmy Adams said: “I’m happy that the effort of the squad in the recent Test series versus Pakistan has been recognised in the gaining of valuable ranking points.
“Our long-term aim is to strengthen, over time, all relevant aspects of our game and one yardstick to measure our success will be where we lie in the international rankings. Well done to the team on this achievement.”
India, South Africa, Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka are the teams ahead of the West Indies.
The West Indies are preparing for the home series against Afghanistan, from May 30 to June 14. Those matches will be three Twenty20s and three one-day internationals. Then West Indies play five ODIs and one Twenty20 against India, from June 23 to July 9.
The India series will offer the West Indies an opportunity to gain automatic qualification for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
The West Indies Cricket Board’s selection panel has named a 13-member squad for the upcoming series against Afghanistan.
The squad includes one uncapped player, Ronsford Beaton, the tall, 24-year-old Guyanese fast bowler. He has so far played 36 T20 matches, with 31 wickets including best figures of 4-9.
All-rounder Jason Holder is being rested for the series and Carlos Brathwaite is named captain. Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels, senior batsman who rarely fail to score heavily against modest opposition, will be expected to get the bulk of the runs.
The Panel also announced the 12-man squad for the WICB President’s XI T20 match against the visitors. All matches will be played at Warner Park in St Kitts. Start time is 7:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. in the Cayman Islands).
Courtney Browne, chairman of the selection panel, said: “After the T20 series against Pakistan we felt that it was important to keep the same group together so that the coaches can continue developing the young players. This coupled with the vast T20 experience of some of our senior players can help us to build a very formidable unit.”
On the inclusion of Beaton, Browne said: “Our head coach Stuart Law has asked for someone who can add some firepower to the attack. We felt that Ronsford has shown he can bowl with sustained pace in T20 cricket. We are confident he will do very well.”
Browne said that Holder requested a break and after discussion with his colleagues they granted him time off to refresh himself and prepare for the upcoming ODIs against Afghanistan and India.
Browne added: “In developing a high performance unit there is never room for complacency and our expectation is to win against a team that is ranked lower than us in the ICC rankings.”
Carlos Brathwaite (Captain)
WICB PRESIDENT’S XI
Ashley Nurse (Captain)